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North Carolina Intercity Rail Transit


Noneck_08

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I fail to see how that applies to North Carolina's rail situation, or South Carolina's for that matter. You have a logical disconnect in your argument, and your argument only proves that you have a bias against South Carolina. The governor DID apply for the grant-- just leave it to the NY Times to make more of it than it was.

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I fail to see how that applies to North Carolina's rail situation, or South Carolina's for that matter. You have a logical disconnect in your argument, and your argument only proves that you have a bias against South Carolina. The governor DID apply for the grant-- just leave it to the NY Times to make more of it than it was.

Maybe it's time to set up a thread on SC Intercity Rail?

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Does anyone in this forum have actual memories of passenger trains in the Carolinas before Amtrak- even in the 1960s, and more than my vague childhood memories of riding the Crescent in the 1970s? I'd assume most of the trains were overnight trains between New York and Florida or Atlanta/New Orleans, but there were some slowpoke local trains as well?

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Does anyone in this forum have actual memories of passenger trains in the Carolinas before Amtrak- even in the 1960s, and more than my vague childhood memories of riding the Crescent in the 1970s? I'd assume most of the trains were overnight trains between New York and Florida or Atlanta/New Orleans, but there were some slowpoke local trains as well?

No memories other than Amtrak trips to Philly and FL as a kid, but I have seen copies of old Southern Railway passenger schedules form the 40s & 50s. I recall seeing one for the NS "O" line north of Charlotte, which I stopped in a number of towns (Mooresville, Davidson, etc) along the way into the city. I think it was in a North Corridor Commuter Rail planning presentation as a historic reference point. It's both exciting to know we've had great intercity passenger service before, but also depressing to know how much we've lost. Driving through the state in rural small towns dotting the landscape, it's not hard to notice how and why these towns existence was based almost completely due to those rail lines built a century ago. I would love to see an old passenger railway map of NC (hint)...

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Does anyone in this forum have actual memories of passenger trains in the Carolinas before Amtrak- even in the 1960s, and more than my vague childhood memories of riding the Crescent in the 1970s? I'd assume most of the trains were overnight trains between New York and Florida or Atlanta/New Orleans, but there were some slowpoke local trains as well?

Here is a link to the Digital Forsyth website showing a picture of the final days of passenger service to Winston-Salem with Southern Railway's Number 16 train. There are pictures on there as well of the final passenger train between N. Wilkesboro and Winston-Salem.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Today's News & Observer has an article about NC's prospects for high-speed rail stimulus money.

If this money does in fact wind up getting doled out based on shovel-readiness and merit, we'll find ourselves in perhaps the top 3 projects in the country. Hopefully that will translate into some significant money for the project. I think it's realistic that we could get $1 billion out of the stimulus for HSR. If you add that to a bit of state funds from NC and VA, it might be enough to restore the S-line between Raleigh and Petersburg.

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NCDOT is optimistic some of the money will come their way. From their press release about the stimulus:

The plan also includes $8 billion to deploy high-speed passenger rail systems and improve intercity passenger rail. The U.S. Department of Transportation will award these funds on a competitive basis, and NCDOT is pursuing this funding to use for further development of the Southeast High-Speed Rail corridor between Charlotte and Washington, D.C.
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  • 2 weeks later...

A new article on SEHSR.

  • Charlotte to Raleigh in 2:15, Raleigh to Richmond in 2:00, Richmond to DC in 1:55 by 2018
  • 8 daily trips between CLT and RGH, 4 between RGH & DC (mix of express and regional)
  • top speed 110mph (likely on segment N of RGH), avg speed 85mph
  • $8B in stimulus bill + $5 in Obama budget for HSR
  • capital cost $5-6B, operating costs potentially zero (covered at the farebox)

"I don't think we will be able to say, 'Give us $2 billion now [from the federal stimulus],' " Gene Conti, the state transportation secretary, told a House committee last week. "We will have to go after specific chunks of the money. I think we are in a very good position to compete strongly for that."

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A new article on SEHSR.

  • Charlotte to Raleigh in 2:15, Raleigh to Richmond in 2:00, Richmond to DC in 1:55 by 2018
  • 8 daily trips between CLT and RGH, 4 between RGH & DC (mix of express and regional)
  • top speed 110mph (likely on segment N of RGH), avg speed 85mph
  • $8B in stimulus bill + $5 in Obama budget for HSR
  • capital cost $5-6B, operating costs potentially zero (covered at the farebox)

"I don't think we will be able to say, 'Give us $2 billion now [from the federal stimulus],' " Gene Conti, the state transportation secretary, told a House committee last week. "We will have to go after specific chunks of the money. I think we are in a very good position to compete strongly for that."

The quicker timeframe and the higher frequency will definitely make me consider taking train more often.. my only hinderance would be car rental at the train stop (which, hopefully gets moved and made bigger). Union Station in DC to Raleigh with a rental car facility onsite or nearby would be completely SWEET!!!1

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There's already an Enterprise Rent A Car facility just 2 blocks from the Raleigh Amtrak station. Union Station in DC has a full-blown rental car counter similar to what one might find at a small airport with several different companies, all of which keep their rental vehicles on-site in the massive parking deck.

I go to Washington perhaps twice a year. I have taken the train a few times, but doesn't always makes sense to do so when you have to give up an entire day. The Carolinian leaves Raleigh northbound at 11am and DC southbound at 10:30am, which kills basically an entire business day (or an entire day's worth of sightseeing, or visiting family, etc.)

A train that leaves Raleigh at 6am / arrives in DC at 10am, and one leaving DC at 7pm / arriving in Raleigh at 11pm would be infinitely more useful.

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When are they supposed to announce the schedule and name of the new midday train service? If it's supposed to start this summer, shouldn't they go ahead an announce this? Will it be called the Cardinal (to go along with the Carolinian and Piedmont) or perhaps the Crystal Coast (even though it does not go to Morehead City which is purely a shame)?

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I'd be surprised if it has a new name. It's the same route as the Piedmont, just a different time. I predict we'll see additional train numbers (the current Piedmont trains are 73 and 74) instead of a new name.

Has the state "derailed" this service because of the economy? I would hope not, but they're cutting at a frenetic pace in Raleigh right now.

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No that isn't it. The notation "Piedmont" refers to the "Train Line". The number refers to the train set of this line. For the Piedmont, train 73 heads from Raleigh to Charlotte, it changes name to train 74 is when it heads back to Raleigh. They are called trains because the line might be operating two sets for long trips. The other NCDOT train, The Carolinian actually does this because it goes all the way to NYC. 80 is from Charlotte to NY, it changes to train 79 when it leaves NY to come back to Charlotte. There will be two Carolinians running each day. It's sort of similar to flight number.

This convention goes back to the days when competing private train companies would give their train lines names to distinguish their service and trains since often they would be competing on the same route. For example if you were to take a ride on the a Zephyr you knew this would be a sleek streamlined stainless steel train as opposed to maybe a steam locomotive and Pullman cars even though both trains could run the same route. I am of course talking about the golden age of train travel.

So if NC added a mid-day train, it would be named, and would get two unique train numbers.

The Carolinian and the Piedmont the only two trains lines that are funded and operated by the NCDOT and they are the only ones that will stop at NCDOT stations. Amtrak also runs named trains on these same routes, but they generally run through the Carolinas in the middle of the night and will only stop at Amtrak stations. In the case of NC this generally means just Raleigh, Greensboro and Charlotte. (maybe a couple of others) If NC did not fund its own trains then service in NC would generally be non-existent. NC is one of only 3 states in the country to do this.

It's a bit confusing because the NCDOT co-brands it's trains with Amtrak. As a bit of triviality, the actual locomotives are also named after places in NC. So at any given time on the Piedmont or Carolinian you could see one of several different locomotives.

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Being a nosy guy, I decided to call NCDOT Rail Division to get the scoop. I spoke with the operations manager and he said the "third frequency" will be a part of the "Piedmont service" and will not have a separate name. They are waiting on some engine repair work to be completed and hope to start the third run in the fall once all their equipment is up to snuff. The best news from the conversation was that they are hoping to add a fourth frequency in 2011 and a fifth in 2013.

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^Naming a train is a marketing exercise to gain attention and to attract passengers to a given train service, in this case mid-day service. Aside from the fact that I don't think they have even purchased equipment to to make repairs on on the equipment, I don't think the NCDOT would even reveal their marketing plans on how they might or might not name the midday train. Did you dial the wrong phone #? Maybe you could post the details here of who you did speak to at the NCDOT who is willing to state the marketing plans for this service. It would be breaking news.

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Couple of notes about the "third" frequency (I use quotation marks because it is actually going to be the second frequency of the Piedmont; but throw in the Carolinian and that makes 3.)

  • NCDOT already owns and has refurbished enough passenger equipment to run the "third" frequency. They have 8 coaches, 1 "combine" car which is half seating/half baggage, and 2 lounge cars. These could be organized into 2 trainsets:
    Lounge---1x 34 seat combine---3x 56 seat coach---1x 64 seat coach (266 total seats)
    Lounge---3x 66 seat coach---1x 64 seat coach (262 total seats)
    I thought they had a dedicated baggage car too, if they did that could be used on set 2, but I guess not.
  • The engine being repaired is one of their F59PHI, which was in a wreck a month or two back. The train hit a truck carrying bricks and other construction debris that was stopped on the tracks. NCDOT only own 3 locomotives and probably need to have a spare on hand.
  • The main thing they were waiting on for the 3rd frequency until the wreck happened was the completion of the double track between High Point and Greensboro. That's supposed to be done sometime this spring.
  • The "third" frequency would most likely maintain the name Piedmont. For example, there are 6 or 7 frequencies a day on Maine's Downeaster, but the trains are all nonetheless still called Downeaster.
  • NCDOT is keeping a low PR profile for the time being - relying almost entirely on word of mouth to advertise their service. This may be due to budget; this may also be because they don't feel their service is polished enough yet to promote the heck out of it. For example, the Carolinian still runs into heavy delays on CSX tracks between Selma and Washington. Not sure if they will step up the advertising or not when the "third" frequency starts.

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I spoke with the Operations Manager for NCDOT Rail Division. His name is Allan Paul and he was more than happy to share the information. I didn't tell him I was Bev Perdue's cousin or anything, just that I am a train enthusiast. I'm sure he would tell you the same info he told me. His phone number is 919-733-7245 ext. 246 if you'd like to ring him up.

Edited by rooster8
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.....

  • The engine being repaired is one of their F59PHI, which was in a wreck a month or two back.

Indeed. They need 3 locomotives just to maintain the service as I knew about the listing you posted. No train operation can operate 100% of the equipment 100% of the time.

------------------------

I guess we will see if they name the additional train or not. I didn't call the number but what you guys are saying does make sense now with that explaination.

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Will the current double tracking work shave any minutes off the Charlotte to Raleigh trek?

I'm not sure how/if the schedule will be adjusted as a result of the double track. It won't have a "direct" impact on train running times, as the speed limit between GRO adn HPT will remain unchanged at 79mph. However, it may have an "indirect" impact by increasing reliability. That may improve the running times if it lets NCDOT cut some padding out of the schedule. We'll see. When both the Carolinian and the Piedmont are running on time in the AM, this is where they're supposed to meet, so maybe so.

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The third line would be sweet.. up to 5 is excellent.. but I wish they would, instead, have 1 that actually goes all the way to Morehead City... so some of us going to the coast can just hop on a train.. but I guess that is just wishful thinking... I know when there was a special train that ran New Bern-Morehead City for a promotion some time last year, the train sold out (and actually made a profit)... that might have been a special case but I know everyone that rode the train or was a part of the project stated that they wanted rail service to return..

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